Best cruises for families on holiday
Cash in some quality family time on these family-friendly cruise lines.
Multi-generational holidays are the new family reunions. They’re an ideal way to catch up, unwind and explore with loved ones without having to worry about taking care of accommodation, food and transportation between ports.
Whether you’re a family of three or a party of 20, these lines are the specialists when it comes to organising family cruises that tick all the boxes for young and old. All you need to do is choose the destination.
1. Disney Cruise Line
Disney has secured its spot as a magical brand the whole family can enjoy, and its cruises are no different.
There’s a little bit of magic in store for every member of your crew when you board a Disney cruise ship. Adults have freedom to escape to their own heavenly oases onboard while little ones can play in supervised youth groups or in activity playground.
- Activities for the whole family: Broadway-style live shows, Walt Disney theatre, karaoke, trivia, music and dance deck parties, family-friendly port activities and kids’ pools.
- Family cabins: Disney’s liners have deluxe family staterooms that are ideal for up to five guests. For larger families, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy have over 500 connecting cabins.
- Family discounts: Discounted rates for children sharing a cabin with parents.
Go to Disney Cruise Line website
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2. Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian has a reputation for providing some of the best entertainment at sea for young and old.
Featuring Broadway-style musicals, areas for various sports and pools complete with waterslides and deckchairs, Norwegian’s activities aim to bring families together onboard. If you’re looking for the best European cruise for families, this line is it.
- Activities for the whole family: Broadway musicals, mini-golf, bowling, circus and magician shows, water parks, rope courses and rock climbing walls.
- Family cabins: Connecting staterooms are available for multi-generational parties. Family staterooms are best for families of four.
- Family discounts: On most sailings, Norwegian offers discounts for the third to the eighth guest in one party.
Go to Norwegian Cruise Line website
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3. Carnival Cruise Line
Not all families are made the same, so Carnival gives you and your brood plenty of options to play it your way.
With basketball courts and a fast and steep water slide for kids, and a casino and adults-only retreat for parents, there’s a reason why Carnival is referred to as the “fun” cruise line. It currently offers more than 200 family-friendly activities across
- Activities for the whole family: Dr Seuss-themed entertainment, water slides, mini-golf, swimming pools, basketball and dive-in movies.
- Family cabins: Family staterooms can accommodate up to four. Interconnecting rooms are available
- Family discounts: Discounts for third and fourth guests in the same room.
Go to Carnival Cruise Line website
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4. P&O Cruises Australia
With home ports in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, P&O keeps the family trip close to home with a shorter journey to the wharf, making it one of the best cruises for families in Australia.
As a bonus for older families, P&O limits the number of children who embark, so you can expect a good mix of ages onboard its family-friendly fleet. As an estimate, around one third of its passengers are either families or multi-generationals.
- Activities for the whole family: Movies by the pool, theatre performances, live music and trivia and game shows.
- Family cabins: Three- and four-berth rooms. Cabin configurations tend to be twin beds with one to two upper bunk beds.
- Family discounts: Discounts available for groups of 16 guests or more.
Go to P&O Cruises Australia website
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5. Princess Cruises
While boasting many children’s activities, the Princess name tends to draw a more mature crowd, making it one of the better options for family reunions and multi-generational parties.
To suit its clientele, Princess offers something for everybody. There are youth clubs for toddlers to teenagers and more mature and leisurely activities that can be enjoyed by older members of the family.
- Activities for the whole family: Cultural festivals and activities, pools, ship tours, basketball, mini-golf, shuffleboard, book club and dance classes.
- Family cabins: These are comprised of two self-contained interconnecting rooms making them best for older children.
- Family discounts: Discounts for third and fourth passengers in the same cabin.
Go to Princess Cruises website
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6. Royal Caribbean International
Winner of the Top Cruise Lines for Families by Travel + Leisure readers in 2013, Royal Caribbean creates holidays the whole family can enjoy.
It achieves this with a blend of one-of-a-kind kids, family and adult activities both onboard and onshore. These include a skydiving simulator and surfing simulator. Royal Caribbean also offers group discounts and customisation options.
- Activities for the whole family: Roller skating rink, bumper cars, circus school, surf simulator, mini-golf, exclusive DreamWorks shows and parades.
- Family cabins: Generous family and two-bedroom cabins can accommodate up to eight people.
- Family discounts: Discounts for third and fourth passengers in the same cabin.
Go to Royal Caribbean International website
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7. Captain Cook Cruises
When it comes to the best voyages for families in Australia, Captain Cook Cruises is right up there.
Aussie born and bred, this cruise line sails in and around our nation. It features up to week-long cruises through the Murray River and the Fiji islands. Cruise ships to Fiji have kids’ clubs, childminding services, swimming pools and entertainment.
- Activities for the whole family: Sightseeing, whale watching, hop-on/hop-off and adventurous shore excursions.
- Family cabins: Family cabins are available on Fiji cruises. The Murray Darling paddlesteamer has rooms capable of accommodating up to three people.
- Family discounts: Child discounts available when booking adjoining staterooms on Fiji cruises. Discounts for triple occupancy available on Murray Darling cruises.
Go to Captain Cook Cruises website
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Family cabins compared
|Family room types||Maximum occupancy per room||Are interconnecting rooms available?|
|Disney Cruise Line||Deluxe family staterooms||5||Yes|
|Norwegian Cruise Line||Family staterooms||4||Yes|
|Carnival Cruise Line||Family staterooms||4||Yes|
|P&O Cruises Australia||Quad-share rooms and suites||4||Yes|
|Princess Cruises||Family suites with balcony||4||Yes|
|Royal Caribbean International||Family and two-bedroom cabins||8||Yes|
|Captain Cook Cruises||Family rooms (Fiji), paddle steamer cabins (Murray Darling)||4 (Fiji) and 3 (Murray Darling)||Yes|
Top cruise deals and flights
Cruises from $149: 15th Annual Sale of Sales
Book cruises from $149 at Cruise Direct during their 15th Annual Sale of Sales. Includes up to $1500 Onboard credit.
Free flights with river cruise bookings
Available with select sailings from March until November 2017 on river cruises with APT or Travel Marvel through Flight Centre and get free or 2-for-1 flights to/from the cruise. Destinations include Spain, Portugal, France and Germany.
Second passenger cruises for just $1
Valid on select sailings until March 2018. Book select MSC Cruises sailings and the second passenger pays just $1 with a full-priced first passenger. Sample cruises include a 7-night Mediterranean sailing for $861 for two people, or just $430.50 each.
50% off deposit and $1000 OBC per cabin
Book on select Seabourn 2017 voyages departing between 01 January 2017 and 31 December 2017 to get 50% off deposit and $1000 OBC per cabin. Conditions apply.
20% off Amazon riverboat journeys
Valid on select riverboat journeys in Peru until 15 December.
Norwegian FREE at sea offer
Book select Norwegian cruises for 3 nights or longer to avail the Norwegian free at sea offer. Includes Ultimate Beverage Package, 3rd or 4th guests sail free on select sailings and more. T&Cs apply.
Get up to $400 onboard credit
Book close-to-home cruises in Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific and get up to $400 onboard credit, or book world cruises for up to $2000 onboard credit.
Save up to $4000 on cruises
Get up to $4000 off launch fares on select cruises and $1000 off fly/cruise holidays for sailings in Europe, Alaska, Japan and world cruise segments.
30% off select river cruises
Save 30% on select river cruises at G Adventures. Valid on select sailings departing before 31 December in Burgundy and on the Mekong, Ganges or Amazon Rivers.
Browse all current deals with Princess Cruises
Find Princess Cruises’ best weekly cruise offers here.
Up to 79% off Carnival Cruises
Save up to 79% on the brochure rate of Carnival Cruise sailings when you book with CruiseAway.
Up to $1000 in onboard credit
Book a Royal Caribbean cruise with Cruise Direct and get up to $1000 in onboard credit.
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Save on last-minute bookings
Find discounts on last-minute travel bookings at Expedia